The Pacific Electric had a fleet of Hart Convertible Gondolas that were built by American Car and Foundry in 1911. These cars were able to be configured into a gondola or a hopper by moving the bulkheads and lifting up the floor. This allowed them to be used as a ballast car or carrying ties. These cars had heavy bracing, yet there were many that were bowed before they were vacated or transferred to the Sud Pacifico de Mexico in 1952.
The Southern Pacific had 500 of these cars, and the Pacific Electric took delivery of 50. The Union Pacific purchased 750 similar cars, and it’s subsidy, the Oregon Short Line had another 150.
I started talking to Peter at N Scale Kits about him making a kit of these cars in February, 2018, and I didn’t realize that he released this kit until recently.
The castings were a little on the rough side. All pieces required filing to remove flash, and the notch in the floor on one side required some help with a Dremel grinder. The metal is very soft and each car took about 20 minutes of cleanup.
The assembly is straight forward, you can build it in both configurations, and I built one each way. The metal is too soft to soldier and it is very porous, soaking up a lot of CA. It is currently too hot to paint these cars, and the trucks and couplers are on order from Micro Trains. So far, I am very happy with the kit, and glad to see a common freight car from the early part of the Twentieth Century that is not commonly modeled.